As a big exporter operating in an area with various inherent risks, we need good credit insurance support.
We have been supplying Pittards with credit insurance since the 1980s. Jill Williams, Finance Director & Company Secretary, describes our relationship as a partnership, built on mutual trust.
A key objective for Pittards is to continue to build on its successful export model, while developing new markets through entirely new product offerings.
“We export around 90% of our premium leathers”, explained Jill Williams adding, “our buyers are located pretty much everywhere in the world apart from South America, Africa and the Middle East. We are particularly strong in the Far East and Pacific Rim.”
In addition to its export business, two growth areas of focus for Pittards are its newly developed leather goods range and its manufacturing capabilities overseas. The latter includes a tannery in Ethiopia, which produces high quality ‘hairsheep’ leathers, and more recently four glove making factories in Addis Ababa.
Pittards’ finished product range includes its premium Daines and Hathaway collection of leather goods and the Pittards England range of bags, gloves and garments.
We provide Pittards with a single Global Credit Insurance policy as well as direct access to our underwriters and their own account relationship manager. We share our knowledge of the different countries they export to and, in turn, they share information about their niche market and buyers.
The Credit Insurance policy we provide for Pittards gives them security in a market that can be exposed to unforeseen risk. As Jill Williams explained: “We work with a natural product and are faced with risks that manufacturers working with non-natural materials need never consider.
“We also export to a wide range of countries and Atradius are able to support us with that through their widespread global coverage. When moving into a new market, we usually apply for a credit limit early – at the sample stage, when supplying potential buyers with examples of our leathers. This means that we can respond quickly when the customer places their first bulk order”.
Most recently, we have been able to support Pittards as they expand into being a producer of finished leather goods as well as leathers. This expansion into an entirely new product area has involved developing new customers and new markets.
Over the past ten years or so, Pittards have almost never had to make a claim - a testament to the robustness of their own operation, as well as the partnership approach we have developed together over the years.
“We are a partnership company in our approach to working with suppliers”, explained Jill Williams. “We like to build long relationships and believe that it is through close working practices and loyalty that you create mutual trust. We have a strong level of trust with our account manager, whom I have worked with for the past ten years. We usually deal directly with him, but I have always been given access directly to the underwriters should we ever need to discuss a more complex application.
“Our Atradius credit insurance is there in the background as we grow. Although it is not necessary for our relationship with our bankers, it adds an additional comfort level where our banks don’t worry about debts. The credit insurance also supports us as we branch out to work with new customers – particularly as we manufacture products for retailers such as Jaguar and Jack Wills.”